By Mark Dovich
Armenia’s National Security Service submitted a bill to the National Assembly on Thursday that would authorize the Armenian government to set up three checkpoints along the border with Azerbaijan.
If passed, the bill would allow the government to establish checkpoints near Karahunj in the southern Syunik region, Sotk in the eastern Gegharkunik region, and Yeraskh close to the border with Nakhichevan.
The National Security Service said the legislation was needed to implement instructions issued by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at a cabinet meeting earlier this month.
At that meeting, Pashinyan said that Armenia is committed “to ensuring a connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan” and is “ready to provide that connection.” He stressed that any such routes would function “in accordance with Armenian legislation,” including “passport control, customs control, and of course, security.”
The Russia-brokered ceasefire that ended the 2020 war in and around Karabakh says that “all economic and transport connections in the region shall be unblocked” and that “Armenia shall guarantee the security of transport connections between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan in order to organize unobstructed movement of persons, vehicles, and cargo in both directions.”
It adds that “the Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service shall be responsible for overseeing the transport connections.”
As of now, it remains unclear when lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill.